Canada will move forward this weekend with retaliatory tariffs on billions of U.S. goods in response to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCanadian prime minister commemorates victims of Maryland newspaper shooting Trump suggested to Macron that France should leave the EU: report Maryland newspaper writer in emotional interview: ‘We need more than prayers’ MORE ‘s duties steel and aluminum imports.
Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, said Friday that Ottawa will slap tariffs on $12.6 billion of U.S. exports starting on Sunday.
“We will not escalate, and we will not back down,” Freeland said.
Freeland said she spoke six times this week to U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMcConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade war MORE about the impending tariffs that will hit a wide range of U.S. products.
She said she expects “common sense will prevail.”
In March, Trump announced tariffs of 25 percent steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum over national security concerns. He had exempted allies such as Canada and the European Union while talks continued with the leaders of those nations about a permanent waiver.
But at the end of May, Trump said that Canada and the EU would be swept into the tariffs, setting off a series of tit-for-tat tariffs by close U.S. trading partners.
“The tariffs introduced by the United States on Canadian steel and aluminum are protectionist and illegal under WTO and NAFTA rules, the very rules that the United States helped to write,” Freeland said.
“It is with regret that we take these countermeasures, but the U.S. tariffs leave Canada no choice but to defend our industries, our workers and our communities, and we will remain firm in doing so,” she said.
Canada, which buys more American steel and any other country, said that the U.S. has a $2 billion annual trade surplus in iron and steel products with Canada.
The U.S., Canada and Mexico are expected to restart talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after Mexico’s presidential elections, which are set for Sunday.
Canadian steel is used in American tanks, and its aluminum goes into U.S. planes.
In 2017, about $14 billion of steel was traded between Canada and the United States.
Combined trade in aluminum between Canada and the U.S. is more than $11.4 billion a year.
The Canadian government also announced that it would make available upward of $2 billion in assistance to its steel and aluminum companies.
That amount includes $50 million over five years to help companies diversify markets and take advantage of EU and Asia-Pacific trade deals.
Canada says it has already taken steps to address any dumping of metals into its market.